Cardiff City 0 West Ham 2

Played on: Sunday 4th March 2012

This was by far the worst Cardiff performance I’ve witnessed all season. A shame when you consider that only a week earlier we nearly accomplished the seemingly impossible against Liverpool.

West Ham was always going to be the toughest home game we’d face all season and I believed our impressive Wembley performance would mean one of two things. Either we would be full of spirit and put in another strong performance, or be very flat and tired after giving everything in the final. Sadly it was the latter as a very lethargic City performance saw us well beat 2-0 by the big spending Hammers.

McNaughton tries to find a way through the West Ham midfield

Cardiff actually made the brighter start and had the first good chance of the game through Kenny Miller. The Scotsman’s stinging drive was tipped over for a corner by Robert Green. Both Miller and Gunnarson then fired wide from far out. West Ham then missed three good chances from Collison, Vaz Te and Maynard, all of which could easily have found their way into the Cardiff net as they began to dominate play.

Fatigue started to show in the Bluebirds camp when Gestede was forced off on 35 minutes with a hamstring injury, being replaced by Haris Vuckic. These Cardiff players were forced to play extra time and penalties last Sunday, while in contrast West Ham were in Dubai resting.

Malky would have wanted his side to reach half-time with the score still goalless; however this wasn’t to be as the Hammers took the lead two minutes from the break. Gunnarson inadvertently nudged the ball into Maynard’s path and the striker played a slick reverse pass to Nolan who fired a curling side footed effort past Marshall into the far corner. This was Nolan’s eighth goal of the season and in truth gave West Ham the lead they deserved.

The Hammers celebrate taking a deserved lead

With pressure now on the Bluebirds to equalise, I expected us to start the second half stronger. How wrong I was. Vaz Te could have doubled his sides lead as a long ball caught our defence napping. Vaz Te beat the onrushing Marshall but couldn’t quite get the ball past Hudson who cleared the ball to safety. McNaughton was next to gift West Ham a chance. His poor headed back pass was intercepted by Maynard who raced one-on-one with Marshall, only for the keeper to stay big and block his shot to spare McNaughton’s blushes.

Cardiff finally started to come into the game after an hour of football. Mason and Turner both fired over before Miller saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Whittingham came so close to equalising for City but his curling free-kick hit the inside of the post. If only this had gone in then perhaps we could have held on for a draw. That could have meant that we would have four of the most underserved points against a West Ham side destined for promotion, but it wasn’t to be.

Whittingham tries to beat Nolan

With the team looking dead on their legs, I was surprised that Malky didn’t use any of his two remaining subs as the Hammers again began to dominate. And they duly doubled their advantage through the most unlikely source of George McCartney on 77 minutes. The defender beat McNaughton before his cross luckily ricocheted off Turner and back into his own path. He then fired in at a tight angle to score his first goal since 2007.

This wrapped up the three points for the London club but Cardiff did come close to claiming at least a consolation goal. First Mason attempted to lob Green from close range but saw his effort cleared off the line. Then, with the final touch of the game, Miller headed against the crossbar from close range.

Cardiff couldn't repeat last weeks Wembley heroics against a strong West Ham outfit

This was a very poor performance from a very tired looking Cardiff outfit. Our team seems to severely lack much pace which I feel is a necessity in modern football. That said; all our outfield players were those who put in a truly heroic performance last week, so to doubt them or to say they’re not good enough really is not fair.

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 09 Miller
  • 15 Gestede (Vuckic – 35′ )
  • 20 Mason

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 04 Kiss
  • 11 Conway
  • 19 Vuckic
  • 23 Blake

West Ham United

  • 01 Green
  • 03 McCartney
  • 05 Tomkins
  • 15 Faye
  • 17 O’Brien
  • 04 Nolan
  • 10 Collison
  • 16 Noble
  • 22 Lansbury (O’Neil – 75′ )
  • 08 Maynard (Cole – 63′ )
  • 12 Vaz Te

Substitutes

  • 31 Boffin
  • 48 Potts
  • 32 O’Neil
  • 07 Baldock
  • 09 Cole
Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy
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2 thoughts on “Cardiff City 0 West Ham 2

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